Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I always wanted to learn how to make pickles and preserves....maybe jar some fresh tomato sauce just when the tomatoes are most ripe and at their peak. I have all the supplies from my mom. I remember summers where she would come home with bushels of strawberries, pick out the perfect ones and make a whole winter's supply of strawberry jam; cooking the sugar and berries, boiling the jars and sealing the lids to preserve the freshness. We would eat strawberry jam all summer and winter!

A few weeks ago I decided to try a new food store. While perusing the produce department for salad ingredients, I stumbled upon cute, mini cucumbers. My first thought was to forget the salad (since they can be somewhat boring and redundant) and to use them for something not so ordinary. Pickles! Here is my chance to learn the process of pickling and use the supplies that have been packed away in my basement for years. Unfortunately canning takes a bit of time and since a lot of free time was lacking in my schedule and not knowing how long these little cukes would stay fresh, I decided to take a short cut and make quick refrigerator pickles. Obviously a shorter shelf life than if I canned them but tasty and very easy to make. I have an Aunt who practically pickles anything all summer, as long as the vegetables are abundant and fresh. She has a brine recipe for everything ... string beans, mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower... They're all good. I decided to use her recipe for bread and butter pickles so here goes:


  • Wash cucumbers well with cold water. Slice them and put them in canning jars that are clean and hot - just out of the dishwasher. ( I also sliced red peppers since I had them in the fridge)
  • Combine sugar,  vinegar, onions, salt and spices and bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Let cool for a couple of minutes and then ladle the brine over the cucumbers in the jar. Make sure to leave 1/4 inch space at the top. Cover the lids and then refrigerate. Shake the jars once a day to distribute the brine. 
You can store these in the refrigerator for up to 2 months but they won't last that long!

You can find recipes like this in the book Canning & Preserving with Ashley English

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